The To-Do List: Don’t overlook these superpowers
Perhaps some of this sounds familiar: You find an overdue utility bill you could have sworn you’d already paid, and now you owe a late fee. The report you thought was due next week is in fact due tomorrow, so you’ll need to pull an all-nighter to get it done. You remember you’re out of toilet paper only after you return home from work.
You’d have to be practically superhuman to get through life without these kinds of slip-ups, right? Ah, but even the ordinary human can harness the power of a to-do list! Here are some of the secret superpowers you can obtain without accidental radiation or being born on an alien planet:
Superpower 1: Predict the future
A lot of folks fall into the trap of believing that, if something is important, of course they’ll remember it. That may be true more often than not, but actually putting each task down forces you to face the facts about what a task involves and how long it will actually take. A to-do list helps you turn abstract objectives into realistic and achievable action items. When it comes to seeing both the big picture and the little details, the human brain just can’t compete with a to-do list.
Superpower 2: Get things done at lightning speed
Having a solid to-do list allows you to cut down on decision fatigue and aids you in prioritizing what’s important. Seeing your tasks side-by-side, you can assess at a glance what must be done first and what can be put on the back burner. Remember, the goal of productivity isn’t merely getting a long list of tasks done, and it’s not about making sure every moment of the day is filled. If you have clear goals in your work or personal life, tracking even your mundane daily tasks can give you a better sense of which things are taking too much time away from what’s really important to you.
Superpower 3: Bring the stress monster under control
Despite its simple concept, maintaining a regular to-do list can be a great stress reliever. If you’re not tracking your tasks, it can be hard to really grasp how much of a mental load you’re carrying by trying to keep everything in your head. A calendar can help, but what about the tasks with flexible deadlines, or those involving numerous small tasks? Relocating every single outstanding task from your brain to your to-do list can vanquish the constant niggling worry that you’re forgetting something. Putting a task on your list can also force you to rethink the necessity of that task. You might end up concluding that you could just skip it or delegate it to someone else, lessening your burden by eliminating the task altogether!
Extra tip: Banish the motivation myth
Perhaps you've read this far and are thinking: "Sounds great, if I had the motivation to actually DO THE THINGS! If that sounds like you, we have some extra ideas for tackling your to-do list when you lack the motivation. Experiment and see what works for you!